Akos Kiraly is a higher education marketing specialist with 10+ years of experience. Akos grew up in Hungary and came as an international student to Germany. He started his career in Germany with one of the leading German university agencies before he switched to the education provider side. Akos has been previously working as Director of Student Recruitment at GISMA Business School and has successfully implemented an international student recruitment strategy for SRH Berlin University of Applied Science (SRH Hochschule Berlin). Akos joined Lancaster University Leipzig in September 2019. Currently, he is responsible for the sales strategy of SRH Universities in Germany and the Netherlands.
Germany, like many other countries, faces a shortage of skilled professionals in certain sectors. This shortage is driven by a variety of factors, including an aging population, declining birth rates, and a mismatch between the skills of the domestic workforce and the needs of the labor market.
To address this shortage, the German government has implemented a number of policies aimed at attracting skilled professionals from non-EU countries. These policies include:
- The Blue Card: The Blue Card is a work permit that allows skilled professionals from non-EU countries to work and live in Germany for up to four years. To qualify for the Blue Card, applicants must have a university degree or equivalent qualification, a job offer that pays at least €55,200 per year (as of 2021), and German language skills.
- Job Seeker Visa: This visa allows foreign job seekers to enter Germany for a period of up to six months to search for employment. During this time, they are allowed to attend job interviews and explore the German job market.
- Recognition of foreign qualifications: Germany has streamlined the process for recognizing foreign qualifications in certain professions, making it easier for skilled professionals from other countries to work in Germany.
How does it compare between Germany’s key competitors?
Germany, the UK, USA, and Canada all offer various stay-back options for international students after they complete their studies. However, the specifics of these options vary between countries.
International students in Germany can apply for an 18-month residence permit called the Jobseeker Visa, which allows them to search for a job related to their field of study. If they find a job that is related to their degree, they can then apply for a work permit. Alternatively, students can apply for a residence permit for self-employment, allowing them to start their own businesses in Germany.
In the UK, international students can apply for the Graduate Route visa, which allows them to stay and work in the UK for two years after completing a degree at a UK university. If they find a job related to their degree during this time, they can then switch to a work visa.
International students in the US can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing their degree. OPT allows students to work in the US for up to 12 months in a job related to their field of study. If they graduate with a degree in a STEM field, they can apply for an extension of up to 24 months.
International students in Canada can apply for the Post-Graduation Work Permit (PGWP) after completing their degree. The length of the PGWP depends on the length of the student’s program of study, up to a maximum of three years. Students can work in any job in Canada during this time, regardless of whether it is related to their field of study.
In comparison, Germany offers a longer stay-back period for job search compared to other countries, but the UK offers the shortest period. The US offers a shorter initial OPT period, but STEM graduates can extend their work permits for a longer duration. Canada has a longer PGWP duration than the US, but it is tied to the length of the program of study. Ultimately, the choice of where to study and work will depend on individual circumstances and preferences.
A push for student recruitment
The recruitment of international students to Germany has many benefits. It helps fill critical skill gaps in the labor market, contributes to economic growth, and enhances cultural diversity. However, it is important to ensure that these international students are treated fairly and given the same opportunities as domestic workers.
There are several reasons why studying in Germany can be now even more attractive option for international students:
- High-quality education: Germany is home to many world-renowned universities that offer high-quality education. German universities are known for their academic excellence, cutting-edge research, and a strong emphasis on practical training.
- Affordable education: Compared to many other countries, the cost of studying in Germany is relatively low. Many public universities in Germany do not charge tuition fees, and even private universities have lower tuition fees compared to other countries
- Wide range of study programs: Germany offers a wide range of study programs, from traditional academic disciplines to vocational training. Students can choose from over 20,000 degree programs taught in English and German.
- Excellent job prospects: Germany is known for its strong economy and low unemployment rate, making it an attractive destination for international students looking to start their careers after graduation. Many German companies are also actively recruiting international graduates, particularly in fields such as engineering, technology, and science.
- Cultural and linguistic diversity: Germany is a culturally diverse country with a rich history and a vibrant arts scene. It is also a hub for international students from around the world, offering a unique opportunity to meet people from different cultures and learn new languages.
- International student-friendly: Germany is known for its welcoming and inclusive culture, and it is a popular destination for international students. The German government also offers a range of support services and programs for international students, making the transition to studying and living in Germany easier.
To earn a German university degree in Germany is a solid basis for a career in Germany. The time spent at a German university helps students to gain key competencies that will be needed for finding a job as well as building a life in Germany. Universities help students to fully understand how the German job market works, the relevance of a professional network as well as social & language competencies. Although migration has gotten more accessible for skilled professionals, I fully believe that studying at a German university offers the strongest basis for a successful career in Germany.
German universities benefit from the lack of skilled professionals by offering a “complete package” with a world-class, often English-taught degree, internship and career opportunities, low tuition fees, and an open and welcoming society in the heart of Europe.